An excessively distorted pulse, an isolated guitar riff, a scrambling drum fill signifying the launch of the cacophony that is Less Love’s new single Snow White Trash. If you like rock music this track is going to make you smile.
The band describes their sound as “90s rock which was 70s pop.” But the influences run deeper than that. Less Love conjures the spirit of both eras as well as any other of rock’s glory-days gone past. Their new single Snow White Trash is an amalgam of styles from the past 50 years, but this isn’t a campy, nostalgic display. Less Love isn’t putting on a Saturday afternoon performance for little kids and senior citizens. They have accumulated what they love and given us something new.
“My modern influences are not really hard rock bands,” says Less Love’s singer Sky Mac. “Have you ever heard the White Buffalo song Do You Want It? That song has balls. It is a folk, slightly country song. It rocks but is not a rock song. If I want to hear a hard-rock band I have to go back more than 20 years.”
Snow White Trash is the first single from the band’s double-disc anthology album titled Everybody’s Somebody’s Satan. Consisting of every single Less Love ever recorded, the album will be the band’s third LP.
Discussing this, Sky and I had a chat.
Your new single is a refreshing reminder of what rock once was.
Sky: We are bringing sexy back.
Do you consider yourself a throwback to a bygone style?
Sky: Probably yes. I don’t give it much thought. Wasn’t Led Zeppelin a throwback to a bygone style?
Definitely yes and they were very proud to admit it.
Sky: I see no need to be ashamed.
You have proclaimed rock is dead. Do you believe that?
Why do you feel it is dead?
Sky: Are you asking me what killed rock or are you asking me what makes me think it is dead?
I guess both. What makes you think it is dead?
Sky: We live in a very homogenized age of music. Wings and Lynyrd Skynyrd were rock bands making music at the same time. You could easily identify one as English-rock and the other as southern-rock. Today if you heard a new song with no context of who it was you may not know if it was country, rock, or pop. If it is Taylor Swift her label will tell you it is all three. If the artist is singing in English you certainly wouldn’t be able to identify the country of origin. It all sounds the same.
What do you think killed it?
Sky: There is a book called How Music Works written by Talking Heads singer David Byrnes. In it, he explains a change that happened in the 80s where Time MagazIne bought Warner Brothers. They changed the paradigm of the music industry. For the first time, the music business began to be run by people that only knew business and nothing about music. That snowball rolling downhill likely led to where we are today. Major labels no longer sign rock bands. Rock music no longer receives a major label promotional budget.
It is not one isolated event. I think rock was killed by a perfect storm. I think all the pop-punk and nu-metal bands that polluted the airwaves 15 years ago probably had a lot to do with it. So much terrible rock music back then. People got sick of hearing crap.
You don’t like pop-punk?
You don’t like Blink 182?
Sky: A few songs but not many.
You don’t like Green Day?
Sky: Not at all.
That surprises me.
Sky: I like angry punk like Sex Pistols and not silly punk like The Ramones.
That also surprises me. Your lyrics are often silly.
Sky: True but they are not silly songs. My dad would do this thing where he would make a joke in the middle of being angry without letting the mood change. You would be scared of him and want to laugh at the same time. I am not sure what you would call that, but that is what I am doing in my songs.
Do you think rock has a chance to recover?
Sky: A year ago I would have said no, but there are some really interesting things going on in rock music right now so I am hopeful.
Give me an example.
Sky: The band The Rentals just released an album called Q36. It is a noise-rock album which is their first venture into that genre. I am really digging that right now.
Throughout your life what album would you say had the most influence on you?
Sky: Man! That is hard to answer. I could list different records that influenced me at different stages of my life. If I have to list just one then I will go back to the beginning. When I was six I bought my first record with my own money. The band was Sha Na Na. The album was called The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was a double album with something like twenty hits from the 50s – early ’60s. Every track on that album was a heavy hitter. I wore that album out listening to it.
I remember Sha Na Na. They were in the movie Grease.
Sky: True, and they also played Woodstock in 1969. I guess the negative term “cover band” didn’t exist yet. It was common, acceptable, and never questioned for artists to have successful careers playing other people’s songs during that time.
What is next for Less Love.
We have a radio promotion starting this month. Mike Mills, the guy that directed the Snow White Trash video, is currently working on another video for us. We are not in it so we don’t need to be present. Then the new album comes out at the end of the year.
Well, thank you for taking the time to chat.
Sky: Absolutely, anytime. Thank you for contacting me.